Date:Saturday September 8 2012
Leeds United boss Neil Warnock says Tom Lees call up to the England under 21 squad is fully deserved.
The young Leeds defender has been called up by England boss Stuart Pearce for their crucial European 2013 qualifier against Norway on Monday night and Warnock says he is not surprised he has been brought into the squad after impressing the Leeds boss since his arrival at the club in February. Speaking in the Yorkshire Evening Post, Warnock said, "It`s a hard squad to get into, the Under-21s. Really tough. Anyone who`s in it is there on merit and deserves to be picked. He should think of this as a big achievement.
"I can`t say I`m surprised because he`s got a lot going for him. I`ve worked with him for six or seven months now and I can see what a player he is. Anyone watching him will see that, too, and I`m really pleased. He`s earned this call-up through his own hard work."
Lees has come through the Leeds academy system and he joins Fabian Delph and Johnny Howson from the academy to be called up for the England under 21 squad in recent seasons.
Aidy White is now a regular in the Republic of Ireland under 21 squad, being an ever present since making his debut at the start of last season and he earned his ninth cap on Thursday night.
The academy once again looks to be producing a number of talented players with Sam Byram and Dominic Poleon breaking into the first team this season.
Alex Cairns, Charlie Taylor and Zac Thompson have also played for the first team since the start of last season.
The academy at Thorp Arch was set up by former Leeds boss Howard Wilkinson during his time at Elland Road and it has produced a number of players over the years that have gone on to play at the highest level both domestically and internationally.
In its early years, the side won the FA Youth Cup on two occasions and it now looks to be on its way back up under development manager Neil Redfearn after a few barren years, which has seen a number of the academy products taken by Premier League clubs.
Leeds have started the newly formed Development League in good style with two wins and a draw in their opening three games and the future at Elland Road looks bright once again with youngsters coming through to challenge for a first team place..
Lees has joined up with the England squad and he will hope to play his part against Norway on Monday at Chesterfield.
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Date:Saturday September 8 2012
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